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It’s a fine line to walk between a win and a loss in the FCIAC girls’ basketball league these days. Danbury head coach Jackie DiNardo knew before the season started there would be very little separation.
“We said it from the very first day we had the coaches meeting, that this year anybody can win it,” she said.
Wednesday evening DiNardo and the Hatters wrapped up the No. 1 seed as they defeated Fairfield Ludlowe 57-42.
The FCIAC Tournament starts on Saturday with quarterfinal games at Westhill. Seven of the eight teams enter with between three to six conference losses, while three of the teams have identical league records at 14-4.
“It’s crazy,” Ludlowe head coach Sarah Huntington said. “That is so awesome for our conference. Any given night, anybody can beat anybody.”
Here’s a closer look at how the top eight teams compare.
After an early season loss to Wilton by five points, the Hatters have been the team to beat in the FCIAC. They are ranked No. 4 in the GameTime CT/Register Poll and are the two-time defending FCIAC champs. Coming into Saturday they have won 17 games. They face Harding on Thursday to end the regular season.
“We got a big target on our back all year,” DiNardo said.
The Hatters arguably have the best two guards in the state in Rebecca and Rachel Gartner. Against Ludlowe on Wednesday, Rebecca finished with a game-high 21 points, while Rachel added 13.
“The Gartner twins are super quick, they are great,” Huntington said. “They are legit players.”
While Danbury sits atop with an 18-1 overall and 16-1 FCIAC record, the rest of the FCIAC contenders are not far behind. Second-seeded Wilton (17-3, 15-3) has proven they can beat Danbury, but lost to Warde and Ludlowe late in the season.
The remaining teams, No. 3 through No. 8, well, there isn’t much difference.
Westhill, Stamford and Warde all have identical 14-4 league records. Greenwich and Ludlowe, the sixth and seventh seeds are 13-5. Trumbull, the eight seed, is 12-6.
“I just feel like everyone is in that mash up together,” Huntington said.
Huntington is exactly right. Take a look at the schedules and everyone has beaten up on everyone. Ludlowe beat Westhill and Wilton, but lost to Greenwich, Stamford and Trumbull. Warde gave Danbury a scare, beat Greenwich, Ludlowe and Wilton. But the Mustangs fell Westhill, Stamford and lost to Trumbull by 20 points.
Meanwhile Trumbull beat Stamford, but also lost to a very good St. Joes team that barely missed out on the FCIAC Tournament.
Just try and figure all that out. You can’t.
Saturday should be fun.
FCIAC Girls Basketball Tournament
Saturday, Feb. 22 at Westhill
- No. 6 Greenwich (13-5) vs. No. 3 Westhill (14-4), noon
- No. 7 Ludlowe (13-5) vs. No. 2 Wilton (15-3), 2 p.m.
- No. 5 Warde (14-4) vs. No. 4 Stamford (14-4), 5 p.m.
- No. 8 Trumbull (12-6) vs. No. 1 Danbury (16-1*), 7 p.m.
Day, Feb. 25 at Ludlowe
- 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Day, Feb. 27 at Ludlowe
- 7 p.m.
*Danbury has a makeup game vs. Harding on Feb. 20. It does not factor in the seedings.